I read a really interesting little report in The Atlantic about Mullah Masood Akhundzada, the guardian of the shrine of the Prophet’s cloak in Kandahar:

Mullah Omar, the Taliban leader, visited the shrine in 1996, shortly after seizing control of southern Afghanistan. “He came and asked to see the blessed cloak,” says Masood, who is 33. “We told him that there are conditions: shave your armpits, shave your head, and wash yourself.” Omar came back, clean and hairless.

But Omar wasn’t satisfied. “The next time, he wanted to show it to the public,” Masood says. “We were sort of annoyed.” The guardians demanded a bigger sacrifice. Omar slaughtered 500 cattle and, over the guardians’ objections, transported the cloak to a building on the city’s outskirts and waved it from the rooftop before an adoring crowd. With his arms in the prophet’s sleeves, Omar pronounced himself amir al-mu’mineen, “prince of the faithful,” the title of the caliphs, the successors of the prophet.


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